Opening with Oliver running through greenery to turn out to be Oliver jogging is cute, but Oliver jogging at all is just a weird visual. Know what’s weirder? Felicity sitting on a counter to cook. No one sits on a counter to cook. No one. Beyond that, the whole domestic bliss take on them is cute and feels like it’s an established dynamic. Well done.
Cut away to Thea and Laurel in action in Star City – the city has renamed itself. Thea’s joy is contagious (or maybe I was just happy to see the truck said Kord Industries). Team Arrow does well, but the bad guys get away. Laurel wants to run to Ollie. Love that the city can’t find someone to run for mayor, because everyone who does ends up dead. Very nice touch. Both Team Arrow and Captain Lance are after criminals they call ghosts, because they can’t get caught. Also, they have poison capsules in their teeth in case they do get caught – but how would Lance know that if they’ve never caught one?
Damien Darhk walks right into the big meeting (Is it wrong that I find him really likable?) and announces himself and his cause – the death of the city. Which is not as awkward as Oliver and Felicity’s brunch friends bringing up reproduction at the table. I thought this was a thing that only happened with old Jewish ladies and newlyweds. Oh and hey, did you think we’d go ten minutes into a new season without a flashback? Nawww. We see Oliver trying to stop a drug pusher, getting shoved off the roof, and then being approached by Amanda Waller. That’s it, nice and fast. Cut back to present day and it turns out Darhk is assassinating the city’s leadership. The assistant DA gets poisoned and the other two guys get sneaky attacks, but Lance? Someone attacks the precinct in a big way. Showy. One would figure the cops would have better security by now. This is what, the fourth time this has happened?
Also, you have to wonder why Darhk even bothered warning them, but good to see Laurel as Canary in action. I like this take on her, even if her dad did need to rescue to her for a second there. Still, things get serious enough that they go get Oliver, interrupting his proposal plans. It seems somehow Oliver has no clue what’s been happening at Star City, which is odd since they can’t be that far, and Felicity must be commuting in every day for Palmer tech. Still, love her response “What can I say? Our friends need our help, we should already be in the car.”
Nice Easter egg of the flight jacket with the name tag “Jordan” – I regret that couldn’t get a good pause. We get to watch Amanda give Oliver a pep talk… and slip him a mickey (note to kids: that means drug him). Cut back to Oliver and Felicity, driving into Star City. As he walks into the Arrow cave (version 2), it’s notable that Amell is talking in his slightly higher “Ollie the thoughtless douche” voice that he uses in flashbacks, and that he only barely drops his voice during the Diggle confrontation. I ride this show pretty hard at times, but I can’t help but tip my hat at the little touches like that. It’s kind of cute/sad how much they clearly needed Felicity (even though they were apparently getting help from her all along), but oh man, when Oliver starts barking orders? Great moment.
We get to see Laurel and her dad for a bit, as they discuss all the obvious targets that the team should have thought of. Then we get Diggle and Laurel time. Apparently in the last six months, they have never discussed what has happened in the finale. I guess you can’t exactly go to therapy for that. Meanwhile Felicity and Oliver are arguing about how his decision for them to both walk away was his decision, and she was still there. Before it can be fully resolved, we find out some of the missiles have GPS trackers. Rally the troops! Like the massive amount of troops that Darhk has all ready to go. Where do they find these guys? This gives us a chance to see that our big bad is more than just any bad guy, but someone with magic killy-touchy powers.
Arrow continues to do fight scenes really well, and we see Speedy go kinda ape on a random hench-person. Turns out they’re going to blow up the rail station (see above about obvious targets). Oliver drops the truth on his team that mystics exist. This is going to be the theme of the season – magic. Oliver gets to discuss Thea’s rage issues and she gets pissed. This leads him to talk to Diggle, who uses it as an in to discuss his issues with Oliver, followed up with by Captain Lance ripping him a new one. That level of sadness results in another flashback. Waller has recruited Oliver for a mission – because it’s back on the dang Island. At least there’s a semi-legit reason for her sending him there. In the here-and-now, however, Oliver is all pouty.
Turns out the bombs are not in the station, but coming in via train. So the team, having just gotten back, heads out, and we get to see the new Green Arrow gear. Cue theme music! It’s really, really weird to see Black Canary operating in public, but not as weird as it is hearing Oliver quip. Protip: If you fire an arrow at someone and he stops it midair, don’t do what Oliver does and just keep firing. Damien is a much better opponent than Ra’s was, but Diggle’s helmet is still an eyesore. Luckily, they have a train-exploding arrow!
Diggle, who just complained to Oliver about keeping secrets, decides not to tell Oliver that he does indeed know what the H.I.V.E. is. But Oliver’s not keeping secrets anymore – he hacks every TV and announces he’s going to save the city as The Green Arrow. That’s a nice change. He’s now gone from the Hood to the Arrow to The Green Arrow.
Woah – big reveal. Detective Lance is working with H.I.V.E.? Not by choice, but still weird. Now I know why his attack was so spectacular. Bigger reveal, a six month flash forward (complete with The Flash). Oliver at a graveside, feeling all responsible.
They don’t show who’s grave it is. Doubtful that it’s actually Felicity, because that’s too obvious and cliché, even for this show. Thea’s almost certainly not Thea. Could it be Diggle or Lilah? Possibly, but my smart money is on Detective Lance.
All in all, a solid episode – if a bit by the numbers. I’m looking forward to Matt Ryan’s guest episode and the return of Sarah Lance, so I’m sticking around. But I see why someone on the fence would not be wowed by this one.
See you next week.